14 Essential Taco Spots In Venice
Taco options around Venice are as diverse and full of character as the locals who love them. Some of the best, authentic LA street tacos are hidden in plain sight right here on Lincoln Blvd., and you can find fresh spins on Cali-Mex tacos on the rapidly-developing boulevard too. We have world famous fish tacos immortalized in the Venice-based comedy "I Love You Man," and artistic taco interpretations topped with with grapes. So whatever you're craving at the moment, here's a saucy guide to the best taco spots in town.
In the 2009 movie I Love You Man, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) and Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) enjoy a bromantic dinner date at James' Beach in which Klaven proclaims: "Hands down, best fish taco I've ever had in my life. Those tortillas were incredible!" to which Sydney replies, "Yeah they make them in house. It sets up the flavor for the whole dish." Those mahi mahi tacos went world famous, and to this day locals still enjoy them just as must as the tourists. If you venture just across the street to Canal Club (same owners), go for the carne asada tacos. Tip: The late night menu at James’ Beach serves its famous fish tacos Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
James Beach // 60 N. Venice Blvd., Venice 90291
La Fiesta Brava
Straightforward, authentic Mexican fare served up in a casual setting at a great price made La Fiesta Brava a neighborhood favorite long before Rose Ave. became an LA dining destination. After a brush with development, the family-run restaurant rolled with the punches and relocated to its new digs on Hampton Dr. earlier this year, so you can still enjoy a taste of old school Venice with heaping plates of carnitas and steak tacos as well as some new additions like grilled steaks and seared ahi salad.
La Fiesta Brava // 259B Hampton Dr, Venice 90291
Once upon a time (not too many years ago), Rose Ave. was mostly known for its bakery. Now it's a destination for some of the best tacos in the city thanks to Oscar Hermosillo and his Cerveteca. The Latin American-leaning menu goes from Peruvian sashimi to spicy chorizo burger, all of which add to the dilemma of choosing among the delicious taco options. There's beer battered cod, char-grilled salmon with crispy skin on, grilled chicken, veggie, and the savory Tacos de Barbacoa with Mama's homemade red sauce. Come with friends and share them all.
Oscar's Cerveteca // 523 Rose Ave., Venice 90291
Taking over Benny's Tacos on Venice's quickly developing stretch of Lincoln Blvd., Hermosillo opened another taco joint merging his love of classic cars with Ensenada's roadhouse vibes. Clutch is a Cali-Mex smokehouse where carne asada, calamari, and even kale are grilled over a wood-burning fire before getting nestled into house-made tortillas with secret sauce.
Clutch // 427 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291
Another newcomer to Lincoln Blvd., Taco Love serves up a straightforward menu of street tacos and burritos as well as a few staples we're oddly lacking around here including carne asada fries and micheladas. The Cali-Mex eatery also wins over hearts with affordable prices ($2.35 tacos, $4 bean and cheese burritos and quesadillas) and its healthy lean on traditional flavors.
Taco Love // 703 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291
La Isla Bonita Taco Truck
A mainstay on Rose Ave., this popular food truck is always busy at lunchtime and loved for its ceviche tostadas ($2.50) and variety of traditional tacos ($1.50) including carnitas, shrimp, chicken, al pastor, and lengua on occasion.
La Isla Bonita // 4th Street & Rose Ave., Venice 90291
Dare we say the quirkiest Mexican restaurant in LA? This Casablanca-themed eatery features one-and-done margaritas shaken up tableside from the tequila cart, and rather than chips and salsa on the table, diners are welcomed with piping hot housemade flour tortillas and green salsa. A duo of hard shell steak or chicken tacos with rice and beans is $11.29. Or, you could make your own tacos with a choice of fish ($13.29), chicken or steak ($12.29) and load them up how you like -- these also come with a side of rice and beans as well as a choice of soup or salad.
Casablanca // 220 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291
Caddy-corner to Casablanca on Lincoln Blvd. and Rose Ave., this old school Mexican restaurant is a neighborhood favorite for traditional entrees, Spanish decor and happy hour specials Monday through Friday featuring $3 tacos, $4 margaritas and $5 Patron silver shots. You can also count on the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration with mariachis on the rooftop. With the bar open until 3 a.m., this is one of the best late-night hangouts in Venice.
La Cabana // 738 Rose Ave. Venice 90291
Just north of the Venice border, this walk-up counter is easy to miss when driving down Lincoln Blvd., but don't be dissuaded by the gritty exterior and surrounding auto shops. La Playita is one of the best taco spots in town and well-loved by LA's most discerning taco enthusiasts for its fresh ceviche tostadas and cheap, delectable tacos. For $1.50 you can mix and match between veggie, chicken, carne asada, al pastor, chicharron (pork skin), lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (head), and buche (pork stomach). Cash only.
La Playita // 3306 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica 90405
One of LA's favorite food trucks turned brick-and-mortar on Main Street. Chef Erwin Tjahyadi serves up inventive California Asian fusion tacos ($3 each) including top sirloin steak with jalapeno aioli and southwest corn salad, Asian marinated chicken with mandarin oranges and sweet soy glaze, and deep fried cod topped with grapes and roasted almonds.
Komodo // 235 Main St., Venice 90291
This beachside bar and restaurant is a great alternative to typical fare at the Boardwalk. If you're there for happy hour, get the crispy hard shell "fish tacos" with tuna tartar, avocado, spicy mayo and cilantro.
Larry's // 24 Windward Ave. Venice 90291
Located on Pacific Ave., this taco joint is a great option after a day at the beach and offers a fresh twist on traditional favorites, plus the menu has plenty of veggie options to keep everyone happy. Street tacos ($1.99 each or 3 for $5.50) offer choices of chicken, al pastor and steak, but you'll probably end up going for the signature tacos (around $3.50 each) like beer-battered or grilled fish, or the tiger taco with spicy garlic shrimp and melted jack cheese. You can also choose between corn or flour, hard or soft tortillas, or get your taco in a lettuce cup.
Plancha // 2024 Pacific Ave., Venice 90291
Tacos Por Favor
LA's third location for healthy-leaning Mexican eats features a lengthy list of cheap tacos (around $3 each) including breakfast tacos, burritos, nachos and an affordable reprieve from most food options on nearby Abbot Kinney.
Tacos Por Favor // 826 Hampton, Venice 90291